26,000 jobs expected as a result of Skill UP Indiana! funding

February 19th, 2016

News Coverage:

February 19, 2016

26,000 jobs expected as a result of Skill UP Indiana! funding

Kaitor Kposowa

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – Thousands of new jobs are coming to Northeast Indiana after the region received a portion of a big state grant. Northeast Indiana will receive $1.345 million in Skill UP Indiana! funding for work education and training. The proposal includes $402,400 in matching funds.

The Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership and Northeast Indiana Works have explained that the money will be funneled into the region’s manufacturing and skilled trade sectors. They expect to create 26,000 new jobs in the region over the next decade.

“This is a pretty significant deal for the region,” said Rick Farrant, Northeast Indiana Works director of communications. “It allows us to not only purchase equipment but to supply training, and also to create and develop new programs or expand programs that already exist. It is critical that Northeast Indiana develop talent supply lines to a variety of industries but particularly manufacturing and the skill trade, which is really sort of the linchpin of our workforce in Northeast Indiana.”

Five career and technical centers throughout Northeast Indiana are waiting to get their share of the region’s funding. The Anthis Career Center will use theirs to fund more metalworking certificates, as well as develop plumbing and heating and air programs.

“What this Skill Up will do is help us support additional students in the area of construction, which will help the community and economy as well as helping those students get a leg up and a good start in this particular career field,” said Larry Geradot, the center’s director.

Construction Trades Instructor Chris Roberts said he is active in developing the curriculum and location of Anthis’ two upcoming programs. They’re looking for students and an instructor, too.

“As soon as the funding is available, our instructors in this building would love to see that position filled immediately,” he said. “There is a need now. We need to continue to fill those spots, fill up a classroom. Get kids out in the industry starting a career and further training in plumbing and heating and air.”

While Andrew Harding is currently in Anthis’ cabinetmaking program, he has always wanted to be a plumber and is excited for the new program. He picked up enthusiasm for the line of work from his two grandfathers, who were both plumbers.

“I want to go into plumbing because there’s not many plumbers out there right now and it’s a good field,” he explained. “It’s hard, honest work and it pays well.”

Skill Up Indiana! awarded $11 million dollars in funding statewide. The Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership was 1 of 13 recipents. Thirty one regional partnerships applied.

Northeast Indiana educators and trainers say this is big news for their Big Goal Collaborative, in which they’re aiming to get 60 percent of regional residents to have a high quality credential or degree by 2025.